Delivered on September 9, 2015.
Text: Genesis 1:1-2:4
Pretend you’re in an art museum. Only, it’s your art museum, so maybe it’s in your house, and you get to pick exactly what works of art are in it , even if they are already in museums. Maybe you even get to define the word “art” when it comes to your museum. What would you have in your museum? Maybe you would have some classics – I know in my art museum I’d like to have a Da Vinci or Michelangelo, and I’d also like to have a Caravaggio, who works often have a source of light that isn’t in the painting. I’d want to have a Vermeer, whose brushstrokes were so refined that they are virtually impossible to detect. My favorites would be the Impressionists – the vibrant colors of the thick globs of paint giving the Van Gogh’s their texture, a more refined Renoir or Degas, and I would have lots of Monet’s works – they would be in places I could sit with a cup of tea and a book. I’d probably go a little more recent too – Picasso and Dali would be great conversation starters. I’d also find some female painters along the way to highlight their work. I’m not big into Modern Art, but maybe some of you are – and would include some more recent works, a Warhol or Jackson Pollock. Maybe some of you would go way back, and have pieces from antiquity, artifacts from ancient cultures. Maybe some of you would venture into the current age of art, and have photography, or maybe even a Lego sculpture. Do you have some of the pieces that would be in your museum in mind?
Text: Genesis 1:1-2:4
“In the beginning, when God created.” God is an artist, and we see the works of art all around us, including each of ourselves. The creation poem we find in Genesis 1 is beautiful, itself a form of art one might say. I say this because it wasn’t written as a historical document, but as a poem, which meter and repetition, with symmetry. All of which we find in creation. All of which are explored in art. When we understand creation as God’s creative work of art, it doesn’t matter if it took place in 7 days or several billion years. Either way, God’s creative works range from awe-inspiring to “what??” I am grateful to have had many opportunities to encounter God’s creation, and one highlights both the majestic and the extra creative. I was on the Masaii Mara, or Serengeti, and got to look at the night sky. Very close to the equator and with no light pollution, the sky exploded with stars, and from a different vantage point than I’d ever seen them. We stood ducked behind a building – and started to worry about being bitten by bats, listening to the herds of wildebeests out on the plains, an ugly and unintelligent creature. I get the role both these animals play – but they are both more than kind of weird! God is a very creative artist is all I can say.
And God has invited us to be a part of the ongoing work of creation. When God created humankind, it was unique – instead of being just “good,” humanity is “very good.” God created you, and called you very good. And then God gave us a role, to be over everything else, not to dominate, but to steward. Then God rested, but that doesn’t mean creation is done, and in the creativity of humankind we see that indeed it is not. God filled in the big blank with creation, including you. You are invited to be a part of the ongoing work of creation. So now we get to look at how we are doing that. As we respond, I invite you to fill in two different blanks as you reflect on your life and faith: God created ________ and I am creating _________. Part of our journey is continuing to find the ways we fill in the blanks. Amen.